Daily Archives: December 15, 2017

December 15 The Lover of Righteousness

“‘Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of His Kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy companions’” (Heb. 1:8–9).

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As the eternal God and King, Christ loves righteousness and hates lawlessness.

In these days it’s difficult for us as Christians to be totally supportive of our governmental leaders when we see so much of what God calls righteousness compromised or ridiculed. But the King of kings—Christ Himself—is the only leader who has a perfectly right attitude toward righteousness.

Christ rules from an eternal throne, and He rules eternally as God and King. The scepter He holds is symbolic of His rule, particularly as a rule of righteousness.

But there’s more to it than that. He not only acts righteously—He loves righteousness itself. How often have we obeyed without joy, expressing an attitude of willing condescension? But Jesus gives us a different model.

James 1:17 says, “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.” True righteousness never varies from what is true, just, and good. And 1 John 1:5 says, “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” God is total light and total righteousness. Everything Jesus did resulted from His love of righteousness.

Because Christ loves righteousness, He hates lawlessness. Since He loves what is right, He must hate what is wrong. The two are inseparable; one cannot exist without the other. You cannot truly love righteousness and also love sin. When there is true love for God, there will also be true love for righteousness and total hatred of sin.

The more you and I become conformed to Jesus Christ, the more we will love righteousness. Our attitudes toward righteousness and sin will ultimately reveal how closely we are conformed to Christ. Check out your attitudes and actions. How are you doing?

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Like the psalmist, ask God to show you “any hurtful way” in you (Ps. 139:24).

For Further Study: Read Psalm 119, and note how many times the psalmist makes reference to either his love for God’s law or righteousness.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 362). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

DECEMBER 15 WE SHOULD YEARN TO BE MORE LIKE JESUS

Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.

PSALM 140:13

There should be a holy quality, a mysterious and holy Presence within the fellowship of Christian believers! If we are what we ought to be in Christ and by His Spirit, if the whole sum of our lives beginning with the inner life is becoming more Godlike and Christlike, I believe something of God’s divine and mysterious quality and Presence will be upon us!

I have met a few of God’s saints who appeared to have this holy brightness upon them, but they did not know it because of their humility and gentleness of spirit. I do not hesitate to confess that my fellowship with them has meant more to me than all of the teaching I have ever received. I do stand deeply indebted to every Bible teacher I have had through the years, but they did little but instruct my head. The brethren I have known who had this strange and mysterious quality and awareness of God’s Person and Presence instructed my heart!

Do we understand what a gracious thing it is to be able to say of a man, a brother in the Lord, “He is truly a man of God”? He does not have to tell us that, but he lives quietly and confidently day by day with the sense of this awe-inspiring Presence that comes down on some people and means more than all the glib tongues in the world!

Oh, that we might yearn for the knowledge and Presence of God in our lives from moment to moment![1]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

December 15, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

BLOOMBERG

Vice President Mike Pence is set to receive a cooler reception from Arab leaders on a Middle East trip next week than he once expected, after pushing President Donald Trump earlier this month to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission swept aside rules barring broadband providers from favoring the internet traffic of websites willing to pay for speedier service, sending the future of net neutrality on to a likely court challenge. The Republican-led commission voted 3-to-2 on Thursday to remove Obama-era prohibitions on blocking web traffic, slowing it or demanding payment for faster passage via their networks.

Facebook is projected to boost sales by 46 percent and double net income, but make no mistake: It had a terrible year. Despite its financial performance, the social media giant is facing a reckoning in 2018 as regulators close in on several fronts. The main issue cuts to the core of the company itself: Rather than “building global community,” as founder Mark Zuckerberg sees Facebook’s mission, it is “ripping apart the social fabric.”

Blockchain is upending the world’s financial markets with the rise of bitcoin, and now the digital-ledger system is poised to do the same next year for raw materials like food and energy.

It’s not just the orange groves that were hit hard by Hurricane Irma — Florida’s grapefruit harvest is now projected to fall to the lowest in nearly a century.

AP Top Stories

A firefighter died Thursday while working a colossal wildfire burning in coastal mountains northwest of Los Angeles that has become the fourth largest in California history. Cory Iverson, 32, was an engineer with a state fire engine strike team based in San Diego and is survived by his pregnant wife and a 2-year-old daughter.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, stood before missile remnants that she claimed were covered in Iranian “fingerprints” on Thursday while laying out what she called “irrefutable evidence” that Tehran has violated its international obligations by militarily supporting rebels in Yemen.

Nearly 745,000 men, women and children in Syria are trapped inside the war-torn country’s 33 besieged communities, living in desolate conditions at the mercy of President Bashar Assad’s authoritarian regime and its armed opponents.

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump discussed the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear program in a phone call Thursday, in which the US president took the unusual step of thanking his Russian counterpart for praising America’s economy.

Syrian opposition forces backed by a US-led coalition killed more than 20 Islamic State fighters and took several others prisoner, military officials said Thursday.

European Union nations, now unfettered by Britain’s decision to quit, achieved a 70-year-old ambition on Thursday to integrate their defenses, launching a pact between 25 EU governments to fund, develop and deploy armed forces together. European Council President Donald Tusk deemed the move “bad news for our enemies”.

In a rare rebuke, an Indian minister on Thursday warned the country’s Bollywood film industry to comply with strict measures to combat sexual harassment, following the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

A capsule carrying U.S., Russian and Italian astronauts from the International Space Station landed in Kazakhstan on Thursday after a five-month mission, a NASA TV live broadcast showed. The trio’s departure has reduced to just three the crew of the ISS, a $100 billion lab that flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.

U.S. industrial production rose 0.2 percent in November due to a rebound in extracting oil and natural gas after a stoppage due to Hurricane Nate.

China’s top smartphone makers are ready to challenge Apple Inc. on its home turf after trouncing the iPhone maker in their own market. Huawei Technologies Co. and Xiaomi Corp. are in talks with U.S. wireless operators about selling flagship smartphones to American consumers as soon as next year.

BBC

The UK’s most senior military officer has warned of a new threat posed by Russia to communications and internet cables that run under the sea. He said it would “immediately and potentially catastrophically” hit the economy if they were cut or disrupted. The cables crisscross the seabed, connecting up countries and continents.

Four intact child burials made more than 3,000 years ago are among a series of recent discoveries near the Egyptian city of Aswan, officials said. One of the burials found by a Swedish-Egyptian team still had the linen used to mummify it.

A New York woman has been accused of laundering bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and wiring the money to help the so-called Islamic State.

US teenagers are using marijuana and vaporizers more than they smoke cigarettes, a government study shows.

Starbucks has acknowledged that visitors to one of its branches were unwittingly recruited into a crypto-currency mining operation. The wi-fi service provided by one of the coffee chain’s Buenos Aires outlets surreptitiously hijacked connected computers to use their processing power to create digital cash.

The Indian cabinet has backed a bill that will make the Islamic practice of instant divorce a criminal offence. The bill proposes jail of up to three years for a Muslim man who indulges in the controversial practice.

Iraq says it has hanged, in a mass execution, 38 jihadist militants convicted of terrorism offences.

WND

A new Rand Corp. study warns the U.S. military is inadequately structured to combat threats from China, Russia and Islamic terrorism, according to the Washington Times.


News – 12/15/2017

Weapons Went From The CIA To ISIS In Less Than Two Months, New Study Reveals
Years late to the party, mainstream media outlets like USA Today, Reuters, and Buzzfeed are just out with “breaking” and “exclusive” stories detailing how a vast arsenal of weapons sent to Syria by the CIA in cooperation with US allies fuelled the rapid growth of ISIS. Buzzfeed’s story entitled, Blowback: ISIS Got A Powerful Missile The CIA Secretly Bought In Bulgaria, begins by referencing “a new report on how ISIS built its arsenal highlights how the US purchased munitions, intended for Syrian rebels, that ended up in the hands of the terrorist group.”

Ancient weakening of Earth’s crust explains unusual intraplate earthquakes
Earthquakes typically happen along fault lines, like California’s San Andreas fault, where the edges of Earth’s tectonic plates scrape against each other, releasing enough energy to shake the ground. Some seismic activity occurs in the middle of tectonic plates, but these earthquakes are generally random, occur rarely and are poorly understood. But a few spots within the North American tectonic plate – thousands of kilometers away from the plate’s boundaries – experience earthquake activity frequently.

White House: Abbas’s Threatening Rhetoric Has ‘Prevented Peace for Decades’
The White House criticized Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday for his comments against U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, saying that such rhetoric has “prevented peace for decades.”…Palestinians should “ignore the distortions and instead focus on what the president actually said last week:

Violence erupts after prayers conclude in new Palestinian ‘Day of Rage’
This comes after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivered a speech at an emergency session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul Wednesday.

Kim Jong Un’s top aide executed by North Korean death squad, reports suggest
A key member of Kim Jong Un’s inner circle touted as a powerful military figure mysteriously vanished from public life recently, sparking rumors he was executed by a North Korean death squad after allegations of bribery, recent reports indicated. Hwang Pyong-so, a vice marshal who held the most senior position in North Korea’s military, hasn’t been seen in public since Oct. 13, sparking rumors of his death.

FBI on hot seat over ‘insurance policy’ against Trump election
Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is demanding answers from the Justice Department concerning a cryptic text from one of the FBI’s top Russian counterintelligence experts discussing an “insurance policy” in the event that then-presidential candidate Donald Trump won election to the White House….after months of bashing then-candidate Trump in texts and stating that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton “just has to win,” Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page exchanged a mysterious text concerning a so-called “insurance policy” against a possible Trump win. On Aug. 15, 2016, Strzok wrote: “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in [Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s] office that there’s no way he gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40 …”

24 hours to save the Earth! Three-mile wide ASTEROID on way TOMORROW night
NASA has branded the massive three mile (5km) wide space rock “potentially dangerous” – but unless something goes terribly wrong the asteroid will skim past Earth on the way to another orbit of the Sun. However, space watchers should note that the rock, called 3200 Phaethon, has triggered the dazzling Geminids meteor shower as parts of it break away. Asteroid 3200 Phaethon was first discovered in 1983 and a spokesman for Nasa said: “With a diameter of about 5km, Phaethon is the third largest near-Earth asteroid is classified as potentially hazardous.’”

EU BREAKS APART on migration: Merkel blasts EU member states for lack of solidarity
The German Chancellor said it was “not acceptable” for EU members to shirk their responsibility to meet migrant quotas. Concerns about migration have overshadowed the European Council summit in Brussels, which had been expected to revolve around Brexit and eurozone reform. Speaking on the second day of the EU summit, Angela Merkel said: “We are not so in agreement as regards internal solidarity on the migration issue. In most areas, if not all areas, we show solidarity, as part of the EU. “But there are some areas where solidarity is not shown and that is something I find not acceptable.”

At least 3 wounded in Bethlehem on second ‘day of rage’
Dozens of masked Palestinian youth clashed with Israeli forces near the security wall in Bethlehem Friday. Several were lightly wounded, three were evacuated by ambulance. At noon, forty men and youth with signs denouncing US president Donald Trump and calling Jerusalem the capital of Palestine marched toward the security fence near Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, a popular spot for Friday protests.

Chinese company weighs take over of Iran gas projects due to US sanctions
China’s top oil and gas company CNPC is considering taking over Total’s stake in a giant Iranian gas project if the French company leaves Iran to comply with any new US sanctions, industry sources said. Total signed the $1 billion deal to develop the South Pars gas field in July. The contract gave CNPC the option to take over Total’s stake if it pulled out, according to sources involved in the talks.

Haley displays Iran’s military hardware to the press
Standing before an exhausted missile that Washington says was made in Iran, shipped to Yemen and fired at Riyadh’s international airport, Nikki Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, declassified the US government’s findings of Iran’s military activities in the region on Thursday, warning of its rapid expansion and broad ambitions.

Brexit: EU leaders agree to move talks onto next stage
EU leaders have agreed to move Brexit talks on to the second phase, says European Council President Donald Tusk. This means talks can move on to the long-term relationship between the UK and EU, including trade and security. The first issue to be discussed, as early as next week, will be the terms of a transition period after the UK leaves in March 2019.

Saudi FM: Trump serious on Mid-East peace
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said President Donald Trump’s administration was serious about achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians… Concerning the “deal of the century” to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace, al-Jubeir—former Saudi Ambassador to the US—said in an interview…the American administration was “working on ideas and consulting with all parties, including Saudi Arabia, about those ideas and incorporating the views presented…

China’s DNA database in Xinjiang is in ‘gross violation’ of global norms, rights group says
…Authorities have collected DNA samples, fingerprints, iris scans, and blood types of all residents in the region between the ages of 12 and 65. The DNA and blood types are being collected through a free annual physical exams program called Physicals for All, the human rights groups said.

Bill banning Down syndrome abortions passes in Ohio, heads to Kasich’s deskThe GOP-led Ohio state Senate on Wednesday passed a ban on abortions based on a diagnosis of Down syndrome, and Republican Gov. John Kasich has sent signals that he will soon sign the measure into law.

$7.8 Million Settlement Against Biomedical Companies Accused of Profiting from Fetal Tissue Sales
Two Yorba Linda biomedical procurement companies have reached a $7.8 million settlement with the Orange County, California, district attorney’s office following allegations they illegally profited from the sale of fetal tissue.

Judicial Watch: State Dept Cut Deal for Clinton to Keep Call Logs Secret, Abedin Took ‘Muslim Engagement Documents’
The government watchdog group Judicial Watch released documents today from the U.S. State Department showing that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her top aide Huma Abedin were allowed to “remove electronic and physical records under a claim they were ‘personal’ materials and ‘unclassified, non-record materials,” including files on Clinton’s telephone calls and schedules that were not to be made public.

NLRB Reverses Obama Employment Standard
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reversed a former President Barack Obama-era policy Thursday, that held employers responsible for violations committed by their subcontractors.

Obama Lies The NYTimes Didn’t Point Out
…Keeping with the newspaper’s definition, here are a few more Obama lies that the Times left-out.

FED Increases Rates Once Again on Trump – FED and Obama’s Massive Debt Only Things Preventing a Trump Balanced Budget
The Federal Reserve under Janet Yellen yesterday announced another Fed Fund rate increase of 0.25%. This is the fourth such increase since Donald Trump was elected President. The Fed increased rates only one time under Obama until last year’s election!

FCC SHREDS Obama-Era Net Neutrality, A Win For Internet Freedom … Patriots Cheering!
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed the FCC’s “Restoring Internet Freedom Order” on Thursday, which will repeal the agency’s 2015 net neutrality regulation.

Alabama Vote Fraud? Doug Jones Supporter Says “We Came From Different Parts of the Country”
Claims of vote fraud in Alabama are swirling after a man was caught on camera appearing to reveal that supporters of Democrat Doug Jones “came from different parts of the country” to vote for him.

Technology Company Kernel Spending Millions To Microchip Humans To Create ‘Brain-Computer Interface’
…The first step was to get everyone in front of a computer, 1993-2007. Step 2 was to get the computer on people, 2007-2017. The third and final step will be to get the technology none of us can live without inside of us via microchip implants, 2018-2025. When Antichrist shows up, his mark will just be the latest and coolest implantable device sold to a lost world filled with people already wired.

Judicial Watch Sues California and Los Angeles Over Dirty Voter Registration Rolls
Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a federal lawsuit against Los Angeles County and the State of California over their failure to clean their voter rolls and to produce election-related records as required by the federal National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) (Judicial Watch, Inc. et al. v. Dean C. Logan, et al.


Cryptocurrency Chaos: Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum All Keep Surging To New Record Highs With No End In Sight

The cryptocurrency revolution is the biggest story in the financial world right now. In recent days I have spent a lot of time writing about Bitcoin, but the truth is that all of the major cryptocurrencies have been on an unprecedented run lately. In fact, some of them have been rising much faster in price than Bitcoin has. So even though Bitcoin is now worth almost 18 times as much as it was at the beginning of 2017, that actually pales in comparison to how fast Litecoin has been rising. Of course not all of these cryptocurrencies will eventually succeed. There are about 1000 different cryptocurrencies in existence at the moment, and most of them will inevitably fail. But for now virtually every cryptocurrency is soaring, and the total market cap for all cryptocurrencies combined is rapidly approaching half a trillion dollars. (Read More…)


Do You Know What Is In The Tax Bill That Congress Is About To Pass?

A conference committee has been merging the tax bills that were passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate, and even though we could still see some minor changes, it looks like the major parameters of the final bill have now been agreed upon.  The final bill will be known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and we are being told that it will be one of the largest tax cuts in U.S. history.  Unfortunately, the impact on our tax bills will be relatively minor, but at least it is a step in the right direction.  The following summary of the major provisions in the final bill comes from AOL(Read More…)


Major Scandal: U.S. Congressman Says That There Was A ‘Concerted Effort’ Within The FBI To Help Hillary Clinton Win The Election

Did the FBI attempt to swing the outcome of the 2016 election in a certain direction?  I know that question sounds completely outrageous, but this is exactly what one member of Congress is now claiming.  For a long time we have known that elements within the Deep State have been actively working to undermine the Trump administration, but now solid evidence is emerging that the interference by the Deep State actually began during the presidential election.  As more details come out, this could easily become one of the biggest political scandals in U.S. history. (Read More…)


December 14, 2017
CLIFF KINCAID — The Alabama win for Barack Obama’s candidate Doug Jones confirms our thesis that Obama is running the Democratic Party and the anti-Trump resistance. Obama, who recently compared President Trump to Hitler, recorded a robocall in support of the Alabama Democrat, calling him a “fighter for equality, for progress.” His notion of progress means suppressing the white vote and inciting black voters, who now believe by a margin of 72 percent that Trump should be impeached…. (more)

December 14, 2017
BOB UNRUH — Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., used to be a prosecutor. So he’s not entirely new to the concept of evidence, investigations, charges and conflicts of interest. What he apparently doesn’t understand is the FBI’s idea of a “conflict-of-interest-free” special counsel’s office, which employed a key investigator who helped clear a political candidate he supported and later targeted one he vehemently opposed…. (more)

December 14, 2017
NEWSMAX — Attorney and political analyst Alan Dershowitz said Wednesday he would like to see a “non-partisan commission” examine special counsel Robert Mueller’s team and its investigation into claims the Trump campaign colluded with Russia…. (more)

December 14, 2017
GREG COROMBOS — A top lawyer in Texas says the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller appears to be nothing more than effort to charge people with crimes unrelated to Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign. He also said recent revelations of rampant partisanship on the part of prosecutors on Mueller’s team ought to be the death blow to the probe…. (more)

December 14, 2017
NEWSMAX — Former Fox News star Bill O’Reilly believes the FBI has been compromised and no longer carries the gravitas it once did. “No doubt in my mind, and I’m a big law enforcement guy as you may know . . . I’ve lost faith in the FBI,” O’Reilly told Newsmax TV’s John Bachman on “Newsmax Now.”… (more)


December 14, 2017
BYRON YORK — Yes, the release of texts sent between top FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page show that both loathed Donald Trump while they were working on investigations involving Trump as a presidential candidate and later as president. Of course, lots of federal employees loathe Trump. It would be hard for all of them to recuse themselves from government matters, although it is probably not a great idea to have them play key roles in high-stakes probes that could have a momentous effect on the presidency…. (more)

December 14, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, announced on Thursday that it filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the FBI regarding records related to Peter Strzok, a top FBI counterintelligence agent who was part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia inquiry team before being demoted due to critical messages about President Trump…. (more)

December 14, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to dismantle net neutrality, moving to spur innovation and investment by loosening the federal government’s grip on the internet over the outraged objections of progressives who insist the repeal will destroy it…. (more)

December 14, 2017
GROVER NORQUIST — As the Federal Communications Commission approached a vote on the Restoring Internet Freedom Order at its December open meeting, the Left got frantic, claiming it would bring about the end of the internet as we know it and even the end of democracy…. (more)

December 14, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — The Senate confirmed President Trump’s 19th federal judge Thursday, approving James Ho for a seat on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and further bolstering the judicial army that conservatives wanted to build. Mr. Ho, confirmed on a 53-43 vote, becomes the first Asian-American on that appeals court. Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota joined Republicans in voting for Mr. Ho…. (more)

December 14, 2017
THE HILL — The Alabama Supreme Court has reportedly stayed a lower court’s order to election officials that would have required the preservation of voting records in Tuesday’s Senate special election. A circuit judge on Monday ordered election officials to set voting machines to save all digital ballot images, which would preserve voting records in the event of a recount…. (more)


December 14, 2017
ART MOORE — President Trump’s critics have blamed him for many things, from climate change to a decrease in the frequency of Americans engaging in sex, and now he’s being held responsible for messing up the celebration of Jesus’ birth…. (more)

December 14, 2017
LOS ANGELES TIMES — More than a week after the Thomas fire ignited in Ventura County, destroying hundreds of homes and displacing thousands as it grew into a massive inferno, firefighters are now in a race to protect the pristine coastal communities of neighboring Santa Barbara County before a shift in powerful winds forecast for this weekend…. (more)

December 14, 2017
NEWSMAX — Walt Disney Co. agreed to a $52.4 billion deal to acquire much of the global empire that media baron Rupert Murdoch assembled over three decades, from a fabled Hollywood studio to Europe’s largest satellite-TV provider to one of India’s most-watched channels…. (more)

December 14, 2017
CNN — More than two months have passed since 58 country music fans were gunned down in the Las Vegas massacre, and survivors as well as victims’ families are still searching for some semblance of closure…. (more)

December 14, 2017
CNBC — Nearly one quarter of teens are using marijuana, according to a new survey. Of eighth, 10th and 12th graders surveyed, 24 percent said they’ve used the drug in the past year, according to research from the University of Michigan. The 1.3 percent increase is the first significant rise in seven years…. (more)

December 13, 2017
CHELSEA SCHILLING — The Republican Party lost a critical seat in the U.S. Senate Tuesday as voters in the deeply conservative state of Alabama elected Democrat Doug Jones in an upset race that could jeopardize President Trump’s legislative agenda…. (more)

December 13, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — Republican negotiators on Wednesday said they’ve managed to strike a deal on a $1.4 trillion tax-cut package and that they’ll be prepared to send it to President Trump’s desk next week. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch told reporters that House and Senate lawmakers working to reconcile the two chambers’ versions have reached an agreement…. (more)


December 13, 2017
CHELSEA SCHILLING — Just one month into the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation – – and only weeks after the FBI had been given a copy of the anti-Trump dossier in the summer of 2016 – – one of the FBI’s top Russian counterintelligence experts discussed an “insurance policy” in the event that then-presidential candidate Donald Trump won election to the White House…. (more)

December 13, 2017
WORLDNETDAILY — Former D.C. Metro Transit Police officer Nicholas Young had unusual political views, a federal prosecutor told jurors in Young’s terrorist trial. He “was attracted to Nazis and Islamic terrorists at the same time,” Gordon Kromberg said in his opening statement. “Both hate Jews.”… (more)

December 13, 2017
LEO HOHMANN — A sobering new report warns of growing nuclear threats to U.S. national security posed by the deterioration of the nation’s own nuclear arsenal just as Russia, China, North Korea and Iran are all upgrading their arsenals. The report documents how Russia and China are aggressively implementing nuclear force modernization, “likely made possible with covert and low-yield nuclear testing.”… (more)

December 13, 2017
LOS ANGELES TIMES — The blaze that swept through the hills of Bel-Air last week, destroying six homes and damaging a dozen others, was sparked by a cooking fire at a homeless encampment in a nearby ravine, Los Angeles officials said Tuesday…. (more)

December 12, 2017
Embassy move will help ‘end the reign of Islamist terror’
ALAN KEYES — In 1995, The United States Congress passed (by a vote of 374-37 in the U.S. House of Representatives, and 93-5 in the U.S. Senate) the bill entitled the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. Its stated purpose was “to provide for the relocation of the United States Embassy to Jerusalem.” So, why is the United States Embassy to Israel still physically located in Tel Aviv?… (more)

December 12, 2017
JOAN SWIRSKY — It’s become de rigeur for public figures and media personalities to repeat the tired mantra: Always believe the women. This refers, of course, to any accusation of sexual harassment, no matter how far in the past it took place and even if it was interpreted at the time as innocent flirting…. (more)

December 12, 2017
CHELSEA SCHILLING — “Impeach him!” some Democrats cry, as they accuse the U.S. president of “colluding” with Russia to undermine the 2016 presidential election. Americans can’t escape the apparent feeding frenzy: Every day, headlines screech with new plot twists in the alleged Trump-Russia saga…. (more)

The Briefing — Friday, December 15, 2017

1) Economics as a test of worldview and tax reform as either promise or peril

Wall Street Journal (Siobahn Hughes, Kristina Hughes, and Richard Rubin) –
Marco Rubio Throws a Wrench Into GOP Tax Bill

2) As Americans have their say about Christmas, we see the centrality of history to Christianity

New York Times (Liam Stack) –
Is Christmas a Religious Holiday? A Growing Number of Americans Say No

Pew Research Center –
Americans Say Religious Aspects of Christmas Are Declining in Public Life

3) Evangelical Christian world grieves the death of a titan

Listen Now

Mid-Day Snapshot

Dec. 15, 2017

‘What in the Hell Is Going on With the DOJ and the FBI?’

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) take the DOJ and FBI to task.

The Foundation

“The outstretched arm of tyranny … may appear under any mode or form of government.” —Mercy Warren (1805)

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: December 15

  • Some GOP Senators Press for Late Changes in Tax Bill (Read More)
  • Here’s Where the GOP Tax Plan Stands Right Now (Read More)
  • Harvard Endowment Chief Pushed for Steeper Devaluation of Assets (Read More)
  • Net neutrality repeal gives Democrats fresh way to reach millennials (Read More)
  • With Fox Deal, Disney Adds Hulu to Its Digital Kingdom (Read More)
  • Treasury Yields Have Never Been This Negative for Euro Investors (Read More)
  • Deutsche Bank Had Flagged Manafort-Related Transactions (Read More)
  • Tesla blamed for slide in U.S. home solar sales (Read More)
  • CSX shares tumble after CEO’s medical leave (Read More)
  • Austria Shifts Right as Kurz Forges Government With Nationalists (Read More)
  • Murdoch Solves Empire Succession by Getting Rid of the Empire (Read More)
  • Paralysis at PDVSA: Venezuela’s oil purge cripples company (Read More)
  • How America’s Inequality Is Sending the Dow Soaring (Read More)
  • World trade order in a wobble as Washington snubs WTO status quo (Read More)
  • Mexico’s Senate passes divisive security law, paving way for final approval (Read More)
  • Law School Is Hot Again as Politics Piques Interest (Read More)
  • Inside the Mad Dash to Bring You Cheap, Generic Viagra (Read More)
  • Erdogan says Turkey starting initiatives at U.N. to annul U.S. decision on Jerusalem (Read More)
  • Kremlin: Putin and Trump agreed to exchange information on North Korea (Read More)

Headlines – 12/15/2017

US peace plan not finalized, but efforts ‘serious,’ says Saudi’s Jubeir

Trump’s Jerusalem steps will help the peace process, some experts say

Snubbed by Abbas, US vice president to skip Palestinians on upcoming trip

Erdogan and Abbas bark about Jerusalem, but their threats have no bite

In fresh rebuke for Trump, EU says its Jerusalem stance is unchanged

Houthis: US trying to distract from Jerusalem furor with Iran missile claim

Hamas will reverse Trump’s Jerusalem move, leader tells Gaza rally

Turkey, Lebanon eye embassies to Palestine in East Jerusalem

Palestinians: Arab Rulers are Traitors, Cowards

Hamas calls for another ‘Day of Rage’

Forces brace for second week of Friday protests over US Jerusalem move

Nazareth cancels Christmas celebrations to protest US move on Jerusalem

Protesting Trump, Jericho shop denies entry to ‘dogs and Americans’

Hamas Not Interested in Another War in Gaza, Israeli Defense Officials Say

IDF officer says there are likely more Gaza tunnels leading into Israel

‘Hamas invests in tunnels, why not in hospitals?’

Lieberman: law should be enacted allowing to hold terrorists’ bodies for negotiations

PM on HCJ ruling on terrorists’ bodies: ‘Hamas must not be given gifts’

Netanyahu grilled by police for seventh time in graft probe

Holocaust survivors worldwide celebrate Hanukkah

Family of Miss Iraq forced to flee country after photo posted with Miss Israel

Iraqi Shiite paramilitary chief seeks to put troops under national army

Iraq hangs 38 on terrorism charges

ISIS Threatens National Cathedral in Fiery Propaganda Image

ISIS weapons arsenal included some purchased by U.S. government

US fighter jets ‘head-butt’ Russian jets in Syria, US official says

‘Golden opportunity’ lost as Syrian peace talks collapse

Time Is Running Out For Syria’s Besieged Communities

U.S. accuses Iran of being terrorist ‘arsonist’

Saudis welcome UN report, US stand on Iran’s missile supplies

Saudi embassy in Washington releases photos of site targeted by Iranian missile

Iran says weaponry displayed by Haley is ‘fabricated’

US envoy Haley says to forge anti-Iran coalition

Russia: Iran nuclear deal breakdown would hurt effort to manage N.Korea

Ukraine leader welcomes EU’s extension of sanctions on Russia

Russia says not ready to strangle North Korea economically

Japan expands unilateral sanctions against North Korea

China says war must not be allowed on Korean peninsula

Kim Jong Un’s top aide executed by North Korean death squad, reports suggest

At least 6,700 Rohingya killed in ‘horrific’ Myanmar violence, charity says

Las Vegas massacre survivors 2 months later: ‘We’re in the dark’

FCC repeals net neutrality rules after delay caused by bomb threat

The Internet Is Free Again – Killing Obama-era rules will remove the FCC as political gatekeeper

Brexit: EU leaders set to move talks on to next stage

May Returns to Brussels After Brexit Defeat by Her Own Party

Detroit breaks ground on tallest tower, symbol of resurgence

Americans Spend More Than Expected as Holiday Season Heats Up

Record number of Americans to travel during Christmas holiday: AAA

Solar System’s First Interstellar Visitor Dazzles Scientists

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Tadine, New Caledonia

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Duowa, China

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Pueblo Nuevo, Guatemala

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 24,000ft

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 21,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 18,000ft

Agung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 18,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 16,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 15,000ft

Philippines to face days of life-threatening flooding from Tropical Storm Urduja

Firefighter killed battling Thomas fire as powerful winds pose new threat

Arlington doctor accused of spiking pregnant girlfriend’s tea with abortion pill

Bid to Outlaw Gay Sex, Adultery Fails in World’s Largest Muslim-Majority Nation

After Trump and Moore, some evangelicals are finding their own label too toxic to use

Dr. R.C. Sproul has gone home to be with the Lord. 

Martin Luther – Spiritual Poverty

Kris Vallotton and Bethel Cannot Escape Link to New Age Occultism

Evangelical Mega-Church Leads Congregation in Consecration to Sacred Heart of Jesus Prayer

Mega Announcement: Jennifer LeClaire Resigns From Charisma Magazine

Neurosurgeon-Turned-Pastor Uses Name of Jesus to Stop Armed Robber Who Threatened to Kill Him at Bible Study

Johnson Amendment Repeal Removed from Final GOP Tax Bill

Christian Club Sues University After Being Booted for Requiring Its Leaders to Align With Beliefs

Joyce Meyer Hits the Daily Double of Leveraging Scripture Incorrectly

List of important Christians to follow on social media (not). Plus, ridiculous books

Bethelgate – looking under the rug of Bethel administration

Pentatonix and the elephant in the sanctuary

Megachurch Plans to Build 280-Home Town With ‘Nightclub’ and Retail Shops on Property

Is Christmas a Religious Holiday? A Growing Number of Americans Say No

Theologian Dr. R.C. Sproul ‘Critically Ill,’ Being ‘Supported by Ventilator’ in Hospital, Ligonier Ministries Reveals

Ex-Muslim Leader Finds Jesus, Becomes ‘Manhunter’ Leading Others to Christ in Somalia


What is The Gospel?


Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.

Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.

Consider what the Bible says about Him:

JESUS IS GOD

While Jesus was on earth there was much confusion about who He was. Some thought He was a wise man or a great prophet. Others thought He was a madman. Still others couldn’t decide or didn’t care. But Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). That means He claimed to be nothing less than God in human flesh.

Many people today don’t understand that Jesus claimed to be God. They’re content to think of Him as little more than a great moral teacher. But even His enemies understood His claims to deity. That’s why they tried to stone Him to death (John 5:18; 10:33) and eventually had Him crucified (John 19:7).

C.S. Lewis observed, “You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to” (Mere Christianity [Macmillan, 1952], pp. 40-41).

If the biblical claims of Jesus are true, He is God!

JESUS IS HOLY

God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3), therefore He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13).

As God, Jesus embodied every element of God’s character. Colossians 2:9 says, “In Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” He was perfectly holy (Hebrews 4:15). Even His enemies couldn’t prove any accusation against Him (John 8:46)

God requires holiness of us as well. First Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

JESUS IS THE SAVIOR

Our failure to obey God—to be holy—places us in danger of eternal punishment (2 Thessalonians 1:9). The truth is, we cannot obey Him because we have neither the desire nor the ability to do so. We are by nature rebellious toward God (Ephesians 2:1-3). The Bible calls our rebellion “sin.” According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin: “There is no man who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46). “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And we are incapable of changing our sinful condition. Jeremiah 13:23 says, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.”

That doesn’t mean we’re incapable of performing acts of human kindness. We might even be involved in various religious or humanitarian activities. But we’re utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own. The Bible says, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one” (Romans 3:10-12).

God’s holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death: “The soul who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). That’s hard for us to understand because we tend to evaluate sin on a relative scale, assuming some sins are less serious than others. However, the Bible teaches that all acts of sin are the result of sinful thinking and evil desires. That’s why simply changing our patterns of behavior can’t solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences. We need to be changed inwardly so our thinking and desires are holy

Jesus is the only one who can forgive and transform us, thereby delivering us from the power and penalty of sin: “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Even though God’s justice demands death for sin, His love has provided a Savior, who paid the penalty and died for sinners: “Christ … died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Christ’s death satisfied the demands of God’s justice, thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (Romans 3:26). John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” He alone is “our great God and Savior” (Titus 2:13).

JESUS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OBJECT OF SAVING FAITH

Some people think it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere. But without a valid object your faith is useless

If you take poison—thinking it’s medicine—all the faith in the world won’t restore your life. Similarly, if Jesus is the only source of salvation, and you’re trusting in anyone or anything else for your salvation, your faith is useless.

Many people assume there are many paths to God and that each religion represents an aspect of truth. But Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). He didn’t claim to be one of many equally legitimate paths to God, or the way to God for His day only. He claimed to be the only way to God—then and forever.

JESUS IS LORD

Contemporary thinking says man is the product of evolution. But the Bible says we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him

The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Therefore He also owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience, and worship.

Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Confessing Jesus as Lord means humbly submitting to His authority (Philippians 2:10-11). Believing that God has raised Him from the dead involves trusting in the historical fact of His resurrection—the pinnacle of Christian faith and the way the Father affirmed the deity and authority of the Son (Romans 1:4; Acts 17:30-31).

True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is more than simply being sorry for sin. It is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin and pursue holiness (Isaiah 55:7). Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15); and “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31).

It isn’t enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they don’t love and obey Him. Their faith is not genuine. True saving faith always responds in obedience (Ephesians 2:10).

Jesus is the sovereign Lord. When you obey Him you are acknowledging His lordship and submitting to His authority. That doesn’t mean your obedience will always be perfect, but that is your goal. There is no area of your life that you withhold from Him.

JESUS IS THE JUDGE

All who reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior will one day face Him as their Judge: “God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).

Second Thessalonians 1:7-9 says, “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”

HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?

Who does the Bible say Jesus is? The living God, the Holy One, the Savior, the only valid object of saving faith, the sovereign Lord, and the righteous Judge.

Who do you say Jesus is? That is the inescapable question. He alone can redeem you—free you from the power and penalty of sin. He alone can transform you, restore you to fellowship with God, and give your life eternal purpose. Will you repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?


Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/articles/A335
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Weekly Watchman for 12/15/2017

Standing Against the Tide of Moral Relativism

We profess to know the truth of Scripture and yet too many people seem to be less than certain about the very nature and origins of humanity. Satan is the father of lies and author of confusion, and in this darkness we find ourselves debating history; not only the creation of the universe, but whether or not God even exists.

Many believers agree Jesus is God forever, but the things of this world pull us away from our pursuit of His will. As a result, we choose to focus on the here and now which is part of the problem. Due to our lack of priorities and indifference about the culture war, we have allowed godlessness and relativism to advance.

Barna Research surveyed Americans last year on moral absolutes and found only 35 percent of people believe moral truth is absolute. The conclusion? “Christian morality is being ushered out of American social structures and off the cultural mainstage,” and this results in the broader culture trying to fill the void.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

Read more


Who Determines this World’s Destiny?

Mankind is a mess and getting worse with each passing day as we reject God’s Word in favor of the ways of man. We try new human ideas and nothing changes. We elect new leaders who promise things will get better but they never do. In spite of what God’s Word tells us about the increasing effects of sin and rejecting God some people think mankind still controls his own destiny.

Even within professing Christianity some use human understanding and schemes, thinking we can change the end to this world’s story. But the Bible is clear that this world will one day become so evil and rebellious against God that it will be lead to the brink of self-annihilation. But then the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords returns to judge this world and establish His everlasting kingdom.

Pastor Gary Gilley joins us this morning to continue our look at The NAR (New Apostolic Reform), Many within the movement think Christians are called to take complete dominion over this world, preparing it for the coming of Jesus through gaining control of institutions like education, media and government. But are their views consistent with the Bible?

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

Read more


Key Parables & Disturbing Spiritual Trends

Traditionally, European beliefs and culture are a precursor to what is going to happen in America. Today we look at some concerning trends of what a majority of the population in Europe believe regarding the Bible, heaven and hell, and gender. In our first two segments, we discuss the importance of the Parables used by Jesus to teach the people of His time. Why did Jesus speak in parables and what is he trying to tell us today as we read His Word? Joining us to discuss the context and importance of Jesus’ parables is Pastor Mike Abendroth of No Compromise Radio.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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You Can Always Tell a Liberal, But You Can’t Tell Him Much

Liberals, backed by Hollywood, most media, and the government education system, have successfully cornered the market on public conversations these days. We are into our third generation of young people indoctrinated into radical liberal thought on issues of society, government and even religion, and the fruits of this indoctrination are growing out of control. Free speech and tolerance seems to be a one way street: they are allowed only if you agree with the liberal elite in our nation.

How can we successfully combat liberal “group think” and expose their hypocrisy? John Loeffler of Steel on Steel Radio joins us to discuss this enormous challenge.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Creation to Christmas: Old Testament Timeline

Two weeks from today Christians will celebrate and reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ, God in the flesh and our Messiah, who came to set us free from the punishment and captivity of sin. There is plenty of prophecy and very important history leading up to that amazing event that sadly gets increasingly ignored in most churches. It is called the Old Testament and it contains answers to many questions that the world is asking.

In fact if we do not understand the history of mankind and how they related with God leading up to the birth of Jesus, we will fail to grasp the true significance of Jesus’ birth along with his pending return when He judges all of humanity for eternity.

Jay Seegert of The Starting Point Project joins us for a look at the history of mankind from the beginning of creation up until the birth of our Lord and Savior. The answers to our questions about God, His creation, our sinful nature and need of redemption are there. We just need to take the time to study God’s Word from the beginning.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Bethel Church of Redding CA Using Tarot Cards and Practicing “Christalignment” New Age on Steroids

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

I wonder if any of my readers read the Frank Peretti books from the early 1990’s.  Remember “This Present Darkness” and Piercing the Darkness?”

I was a very young Christian when I read those books.  Over the little church in the small town, were demons plotting and talking about the people – the Christians and the unsaved. They schemed about various ways to keep the people away from the Lord. Their work was to make sure that many would lose their faith and eventually follow the evil one.

In these last days, the evil one is “inside” of many churches (I use the term ‘churches’ quite loosely)  New age practices are an integral part of the church service.  The Kundalini spirit has entered these churches and is masquerading as the Holy Spirit!

I have written about the Kundalini Spirit and how many Christians have brought this demonic spirit into their…

View original post 478 more words

Born of the Virgin Mary

Along with the great theologian and philosopher Anselm of Canterbury we ask the question, Cur deus homo? Why the God-man? When we look at the biblical answer to that question, we see that the purpose behind the incarnation of Christ is to fulfill His work as God’s appointed Mediator. It is said in 1 Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself ….” Now, the Bible speaks of many mediators with a small or lower case “m.” A mediator is an agent who stands between two parties who are estranged and in need of reconciliation. But when Paul writes to Timothy of a solitary Mediator, a single Mediator, with a capital “M,” he’s referring to that Mediator who is the supreme Intercessor between God and fallen humanity. This Mediator, Jesus Christ, is indeed the God-man.

In the early centuries of the church, with the office of mediator and the ministry of reconciliation in view, the church had to deal with heretical movements that would disturb the balance of this mediating character of Christ. Our one Mediator, who stands as an agent to reconcile God and man, is the One who participates both in deity and in humanity. In the gospel of John, we read that it was the eternal Logos, the Word, who became flesh and dwelt among us. It was the second person of the Trinity who took upon Himself a human nature to work out our redemption. In the fifth century at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the church had to fight against a sinister teaching called the Monophysite heresy. The term monophysite is derived from the prefix mono, which means “one,” and from the root phusis, which means “nature” or “essence.” The heretic Eutyches taught that Christ, in the incarnation, had a single nature, which he called a “theanthropic nature.” This theanthropic nature (which combines the word theos, meaning “God,” and anthropos, meaning “man”) gives us a Savior who is a hybrid, but under close scrutiny would be seen to be one who was neither God nor man. The Monophysite heresy obscured the distinction between God and man, giving us either a deified human or a humanized deity. It was against the backdrop of this heresy that the Chalcedonian Creed insisted Christ possesses two distinct natures, divine and human. He is vere homo (truly human) and vere Deus (truly divine, or truly God). These two natures are united in the mystery of the incarnation, but it is important according to Christian orthodoxy that we understand the divine nature of Christ is fully God and the human nature is fully human. So this one person who had two natures, divine and human, was perfectly suited to be our Mediator between God and men. An earlier church council, the Council of Nicea in 325, had declared that Christ came “for us men, and for our salvation.” That is, His mission was to reconcile the estrangement that existed between God and humanity.

It is important to note that for Christ to be our perfect Mediator, the incarnation was not a union between God and an angel, or between God and a brutish creature such as an elephant or a chimpanzee. The reconciliation that was needed was between God and human beings. In His role as Mediator and the God-man, Jesus assumed the office of the second Adam, or what the Bible calls the last Adam. He entered into a corporate solidarity with our humanity, being a representative like unto Adam in his representation. Paul, for example, in his letter to the Romans gives the contrast between the original Adam and Jesus as the second Adam. In Romans 5, verse 15, he says, “For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.” Here we observe the contrast between the calamity that came upon the human race because of the disobedience of the original Adam and the glory that comes to believers because of Christ’s obedience. Paul goes on to say in verse 19: “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” Adam functioned in the role of a mediator, and he failed miserably in his task. That failure was rectified by the perfect success of Christ, the God-man. We read later in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians these words: “And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man” (1 Cor. 15:45).

We see then the purpose of the first advent of Christ. The Logos took upon Himself a human nature, the Word became flesh to effect our redemption by fulfilling the role of the perfect Mediator between God and man. The new Adam is our champion, our representative, who satisfies the demands of God’s law for us and wins for us the blessing that God promised to His creatures if we would obey His law. Like Adam, we failed to obey the Law, but the new Adam, our Mediator, has fulfilled the Law perfectly for us and won for us the crown of redemption. That is the foundation for the joy of Christmas.

This post was originally published in Tabletalk magazine.

Source: Born of the Virgin Mary

What If God Takes It All Away? Trusting Him Through Financial Struggles

Recently we drove past our old house for the first time since downsizing. Immediately, our four children began rehearsing memories, noting every part of the house that they missed. Once again, they struggled to understand why we had to give it all up.

As hard as I tried to respond with confidence that it was the right thing for our family to follow God’s leading — even at the cost of financial comfort and a home we loved — deep down, I wrestled with my own nostalgia and questions.

Living on Far Less

Rewind six years when we were living well below our means, carefully planning for the future, and seeking wise counsel to be good stewards of our rising income. But, in his strange sovereignty, God chose to teach us how little control we really had.

Even as our oldest child’s neurological challenges seemed to consume us, other pressures were mounting. My health continued to decline and my husband’s on-call job often left me feeling like a single parent. Medical bills increased, and our confidence in the future was replaced by a growing reality that our family was in crisis.

God led us to a place where there was no other option but to let go of all we had saved, planned, and worked hard for. Within a few short months, my husband took a new job that brought significantly less income (but allowed him to be home more often). We sold our dream home, moved in with my parents, and were completely unsure of what the future held.

Am I Trusting in Prosperity?

Where did we go wrong? Maybe somewhere, but maybe nowhere.

Although God commands us to live wisely with what he entrusts us with, he ultimately asks us to trust him above all else, no matter the cost.

Through all of this, even in our desire to use our resources for God’s glory, he has taught me to search my heart by continually asking three questions.

1. Do I live in fear of losing my comfort?

If we desire worldly comforts, and fear earthly loss more than we fear God, then we will likely make decisions and plans according to what we think will keep our lives most comfortable. Looking back, I can now see the Lord’s severe mercy in overturning the plans we had set for our lives. He removed all of our earthly means to find comfort and security in this world. It was painful, yes, but it was also freeing.

As our eyes become increasingly fixed on fearing the Lord and trusting his promises for us, we can live in greater freedom to plan and live wisely according to God’s plan, rather than living in bondage to our own.

2. What legacy am I leaving?

Where we pour our time, energy, and money is a part of building the legacy that we will leave when we are gone. Are we working so many hours for our family’s comfort but are never there to invest in them spiritually and relationally? Are we so focused on planning for the future that we miss how God is calling us to live radically in the present? Or, does our lifestyle suggest that this earth actually is our home?

I am not saying we should not enjoy the gifts that God has given us, but we are commanded to be good stewards of what God has entrusted to us. We should be frequently asking the Holy Spirit to examine our hearts and show us where earthy treasures are motivating us more than eternal ones, that we might pursue righteousness above all else (Matthew 6:33).

3. Whether in prosperity or need, is Jesus enough?

We should plan and save—but is Christ enough if he chooses to take it all away?

In a two-year period, we went from debating how to redesign and remodel our kitchen to wrestling with how we would feed our family of six on food stamps. Both seasons have presented different challenges. In comfort, it was a constant temptation to put our confidence and joy in the false security that wealth gave us. While we desired to honor Christ with all that we had, if I’m honest, it was far too easy to be distracted by the excess.

Far Greater Treasure

 Admittedly, the past two years have tested us in other ways as well. We’ve wrestled with trusting the Lord’s leading when it seemed only to lead to greater need and suffering. We were tempted to envy the seemingly comfortable lives of those around us. We’ve questioned why God would allow us to lose everything when we earnestly sought to honor him in our steps. We have struggled to understand why God has taken away provisions for the necessary treatments and doctors that our family’s chronic health issues require. And, at times, we have struggled to see God’s provisions and undeserving gifts because we were so focused on what we had lost.


Hold firmly to the truth that Christ is and will always be enough.
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Yet by his grace, he has continually shown himself faithful, providing in his way and timing, while changing our hearts along the way.

In whatever season you find yourself, hold firmly to the truth that Christ is and will always be enough (Philippians 4:19). He is a greater treasure than anything else this world can give. Sometimes, it may take losing everything on this earth to truly come to believe that with every ounce of our being.

Plan for the Future—But Don’t Hope in It

Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. (1 Timothy 6:6-8)

We are commanded to be content today because none of us have a guarantee of what tomorrow holds. Therefore, as Christ-honoring as it is to steward our resources wisely—to plan and save for an emergency fund, home, and retirement—we must always be on guard that we are not placing our hope in them. As we grow in understanding how temporary this life really is, we will learn to hold more loosely to our plans, live in freedom rather than fear, and be willing to spend ourselves more radically for the Lord.

When we find ourselves with a comfortable bank account and all of our efforts panning out as we hoped, we must be careful that our security and joy is not found there. We must boldly ask the Lord to both keep us dependent and to help us, in any situation, to glorify him. May we be slow to judge those who are struggling (not assuming it’s their own laziness or poor judgment), and quick to see how God’s grace has provided for us abundantly for his purposes.

You Can Lean on Him

If, on the other hand, you are reeling from the loss of what you worked hard for, or are carrying the burden of an uncertain future, take heart and rest in the one who sees your needs and is faithful to provide.

May this be a season that you see and savor an increased desire and love for Christ as you lean on him for your current and future needs. Be careful of giving way to resentment or envy towards those who appear to be more comfortable. Your intense season of need may be the greatest gift of grace that God has given you for his eternal purposes.

This post originally appeared on November 27, 2017 on the Desiring God blog here. [Photo Credit: Unsplash]

RELATED POSTS:

The post What If God Takes It All Away? Trusting Him Through Financial Strugglesappeared first on Unlocking the Bible.

List of important Christians to follow on social media (not). Plus, ridiculous books

According to Elizabeth Prata of The End Time “many of these people on the list teach not immature and temporary error, but permanently damning heresy.” Three examples are Rick WarrenSteven Furtick and Christine Caine. Clearly, the woman who put together this list has zip, zero, nada discernment. See who else is included on Crosswalk’s list of important Christians you should follow:

Crosswalk Ministry recently posted a story titled 20 Important Christians You Should Follow on Social Media. Crosswalk.com’s About says,

Crosswalk.com aims to offer the most compelling biblically-based content to Christians on their walk with Jesus. Crosswalk.com is your online destination for all areas of Christian Living – faith, family, fun, and community.

After seeing the list of “important” Christians you should follow, Crosswalk should not be your destination for anything. Why? Most of their list is populated by false teachers. Sadly, the author of this list states that she is a teacher/leader at her church. It is apparent that the author lacks discernment, which is terrible for a church teacher/leader. It’s clear that the publication’s editors lack discernment, too, because they allowed it to be published.

View article →

Source: List of important Christians to follow on social media (not). Plus, ridiculous books

Bethelgate – looking under the rug of Bethel administration

A few days ago we posted “Christalignment: Our cards lead the way….into the occult” and reported that a blog calling itself Christalignment uses “destiny cards,” which is just another name for tarot cards, to practice the prophetic. What’s the big deal? Tarot cards are used to tell one’s future. Fortune telling is an occult practice. Occultists believe they are endued with magical or supernatural powers. These folks are into witchcraft, satanism, and other forms of psychic discernment (tarot cards, astrology, seances, Runes, palm reading, teacup reading, etc.). So it is clear that the Christ in Christalignment is theNew Age Christ, not the Christ of holy Scripture, as God’s people are not to participate in occult practices such as “destiny card” reading. (Deut. 18:10)

In a piece entitled “Charismatics Now Using ‘Christian’ Tarot Cards” Pulpit & Pen reported Bethel Church’s association with Christalignment by claiming that “some associated with Bethel Church in Redding, California – are engaging in what is essentially tarot card reading.” Bethel leader Kris Vallotton came out with a Facebook post denying the charge. Although Vallotton denies it, Churchwatch Central says his statement is misleading. In this article, CWC reveals that Bethel is fully aware of this tarot card ministry:

After denying the charge, Bethel was exposed for promoting necromancy, in the form of what is known as ‘grave-sucking’. Now Bethel and their leadership claim they are not responsible for promoting New Age occultism in the form of ‘tarot card readings’. This article refutes well known Bethel leader Kris Vallotton’s claims that this fringe group (Christalignment) does not represent Bethel. This article reveals Vallotton’s statement is very misleading.

View article →

Source: Bethelgate – looking under the rug of Bethel administration

Friday’s Featured Sermon: “The Nature of the Incarnation, Part 2”

Hebrews 2:1-4

Code: B171215

Nativity scenes are profoundly ironic. The smallest character in the ensemble represents the Creator and sustainer of the universe!

There’s something unfathomable about the unchanging and eternal God housed in humanity and experiencing the growth process from birth to adulthood. One thousand years before the birth scene in Bethlehem, King Solomon asked the question: “But will God indeed dwell with mankind on earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You” (2 Chronicles 6:18).

I’ll never forget driving to seminary during my first year of study and hearing John MacArthur say in a sermon that even as an infant, Christ was upholding the entire universe by the word of His power. That statement was so shocking to me that I had to pull over to the side of the freeway for a few minutes to regain my composure. Was the vulnerability of infancy no impediment to Christ’s eternal attributes? Is there really biblical support for such a claim?

John MacArthur answers both of those questions with an emphatic yes in his sermon “The Nature of the Incarnation, Part 2.” John’s message explores perhaps the most breathtaking of all biblical passages concerning the incarnation of Jesus.

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. (Hebrews 1:1–4)

Hebrews 1 offers a completely different perspective on the Christmas story. Christ’s finite experience of dwelling among us for three decades doesn’t alter who He has always been eternally. John points out that there was nothing partial or fragmented about God appearing in the form of a man.

In the New Testament God didn’t display some of Himself, He displayed all of Himself. God didn’t display His truth in some facets or in some fragments as He had in the Old Testament, but rather in Jesus Christ who embodies all the treasures and wisdom of God—Jesus Christ in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily. If you want to see God fully, look at Christ. Jesus said, “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father.”

The writer of Hebrews is writing to these Jewish people to affirm to them that Jesus is Yahweh, that Jesus is Almighty God, that Jesus is none other than the covenant God of Israel, the creator God of the universe. To understand the Christian faith and to even understand Judaism in its completion is to understand that God came into the world in human form as Jesus Christ. And He is the preeminent person, fully man and fully God. And that’s the message of this opening part of Hebrews. That is the heart and soul of the Christian faith—Jesus is God. No one can be a Christian and deny that. No one can have their sins forgiven and deny that. To believe that is essential for being saved, being forgiven, and going to heaven.

Our eternal future hinges on whether we worship the true Christ of Scripture rather than a false christ devised by our own flawed theology. “The Nature of the Incarnation, Part 2” reveals the fully divine Messiah, presenting Him as preeminent over all things. John reveals seven ways that Jesus is superior to all else: in His inheritance, His power, His glory, His nature, His authority, His atonement, and His exaltation.

What better way could there be to honor our Savior this Christmas than by understanding, proclaiming, and worshipping Him in the same way that the writer of Hebrews presents Him.

Click here to listen to “The Nature of the Incarnation, Part 2.”

 


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5 things your kids need to know about death

It wasn’t the first thing to enter my mind, but it might have been the second: How am I going to tell the kids?

The doctor had just laid out the cold, hard truth: “Your friend, Ken, has passed.” Ken was a dear family friend, a man my kids adored. A longtime staff member at the church I served as pastor, he died suddenly—at the church building, in the midst of his work. A heart attack ushered him into the arms of his Savior in an instant on that overcast fall morning. I was stunned. Our staff was stunned. The congregation was stunned. My children, who “helped him” regularly at the church while I sat in meetings, counseled members, or worked on sermon prep, would be most stunned of all. I planned my talk with them carefully and broke the sad news that evening.

Messenger of ill tidings

Our family faced death again in late-summer of 2015 with the sudden departure of my stepfather. Like Ken, he clearly loved Jesus and sought to please him. Gratefully, we don’t grieve as those who have no hope (1 Thess. 4:13). When the news came, my wife and I were again faced with delivering the sad news to our four children who range in age from 7 to 13.

As a pastor, I always found serving as the messenger of ill tidings particularly difficult. It’s even more tricky, though, when you’re telling young hearts whose ability to grasp death and all its implications is limited. Do we soft-pedal death, referring to it in vague, non-threatening terms? Or do we speak of it straightforwardly as we might with another adult?

My wife and I have found neither approach to be helpful. Obviously, how much and precisely what you say will be much different for a younger child than for a 12-year-old. Still, there are basic biblical realities they should all know.

Here are five fundamental truths we’ve explained to our kids when death has come close to home.

1. Death and judgment are coming to us all.

Sadly, death is part of our fallen world, and the Bible doesn’t shrink back from this truth. Psalm 139 tells us God has numbered our days. Since the Word doesn’t dismiss this truth as “overly negative,” neither should we.

Our family once had friends who never spoke to their kids about negative news stories, such as natural disasters or 9/11. They made it a rule never to discuss death. I believe this is unwise. By avoiding bad news, parents set up their children for unreasonable expectations and stark disappointment in a broken world. This approach subtly, even if unintentionally, communicates that life on earth is ultimate. Worst of all, it fails to provide a rationale for why the gospel is such good news. Every day brings us one step closer to that final day, and our children should be aware of that.

There is also a judgment awaiting every one of us (Heb. 9:27). I want my children to know that, as the great Southern Baptist pulpiteer R. G. Lee (1886–1978) famously put it, there is coming a “payday someday” for the way we have lived on earth (2 Cor. 5:10).

2. Death is not the way it is supposed to be.

This biblical truth is what makes death particularly sad. Tell your kids that death is an intruder in this world, that the first Adam’s sin opened the door through which the curse of death entered. Cornelius Plantinga’s book Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin (Eerdmans, 1994) is a compelling resource (for adults) to help you put more biblical meat on the bones of this doctrine.

Explain to your children that this is why we are sad when someone dies. In our mourning, through our tears, we are admitting there’s really no such thing as death from natural causes.

3. Death for the Christian is to be with Jesus.

In Philippians 1, the apostle Paul toggles back and forth between whether it’s better for him to leave this world to be with Jesus or remain in it to advance the gospel. He then writes: “To live for me is Christ, to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). In a culture that does all it can to stave off any hint that humans will grow old and die, this is a deeply countercultural truth. But for the believer, crossing the chilly river of death is the pathway to paradise and pleasures that defy the descriptive ability of human language.

4. Death will one day die.

Give your children the unfathomably good news of 1 Corinthians 15:26: “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” When the “already” collapses into the “not yet,” death will be dead, and this is cause for rejoicing. This is a choice opportunity to commend Christ to your children, to urge them to flee to the cross where Christ took the key to death and unlocked it from the inside in his resurrection.

5. Death is something we must all think about.

I don’t want my kids to obsess or become paralyzed in fear over the specter of eternity. That said, 18th-century pastor-theologian Jonathan Edwards provides an excellent example of the necessity of ruminating on death, even at a young age. Granted, Edwards was much older than my young children when he wrote his famous resolutions, the seventh of which reads: “Resolved, to think much on the brevity and how short one’s life is (Ps. 90:17).”

Edwards understood that life is a vapor, and that death should motivate us to live for another world. Tell your children that for those in Christ, our best life is later.

What about the death of unbelievers?

What do we say to our children about those who seem to have died in unbelief? This is even trickier but presents a key opportunity to discuss eternity, both heaven and hell. We should be no less clear about hell than was our Lord, who spoke far more in the Gospels about judgment than about paradise.

Whether I’m speaking to adults or children, I always avoid weighing in on the eternal destiny of one who appears to have died in unbelief. Of course, I make clear that anyone who would be saved must come to God through faith in Jesus. But we’ve told our children (and I’ve told family members of unbelievers) that the deceased person is in God’s hands—a righteous and just judge who can be trusted to do the right thing. I don’t put it this way to avoid or minimize the reality of God’s wrath; it simply keeps me off the seat of eternal judge—a place that belongs to God alone.

Though there’s certainly much more that could be said about death, our kids need to be prepared—in age-appropriate ways—for life in a world captive to sin and death. And they need to be shown why the good news of God’s rescue mission in Christ, and his victorious war with death on Calvary’s tree, is good news indeed.

This is an adapted version of an article originally published at The Gospel Coalition.

The post 5 things your kids need to know about death appeared first on Southern Equip.

DBG Weekend Spotlight (12-15-17)

In a moving tribute to R.C. Sproul’s ministry, watch this short 2 min. clip of him explaining the gospel.  You will also want to watch this short one too.

Remembering R.C. Sproul, 1939–2017 — Stephen Nichols of Ligonier has a nice trip down memory lane for Dr. Sproul and his ministry, as the founder of Ligonier.

Next Time: A Tribute To R.C. Sproul — Tim Challies writes a nice short tribute to R.C. Sproul on the day of his death.

What’s So Good about the Good News? — “The true gospel cannot be improved upon. Theologian J. Gresham Machen (1881–1937) said, ‘In the gospel there is included all that the heart of man can wish.’ What do we wish for most? Happiness.”

Born of the Virgin Mary — A good article about the miracle of Jesus’ birth—written by R.C. Sproul.

5 Days Only: MacArthur Sermon Archive 50% Off — This looks to be a good resource.

Are Christians crying wolf about mistreatment and marginalization? — A good thing worth considering as the stakes continue to increase.

Video: “Shepherd King” by Alistair Begg — The Shepherd King is who we celebrate this Christmas season.

New and Notable Books – Three-Minute Thursdays #7 — Some good books worthy of taking note and considering for 2018.

$5 Friday Books — Ligonier has some good resources for you to choose from.  They would make great Christmas gifts.

Banner of Truth Christmas Specials — You don’t want to miss this great sale.

 

 

The post DBG Weekend Spotlight (12-15-17) appeared first on Christian Blogs – Delivered By Grace.

December 15, 2017 This ‘n’ That

  • R.C. Sproul is with the Lord. John MacArthur offers a memorable tribute.
  • Thanks to reader Mike for posting this link in the comments of last week’s post: a few more thoughts on Santa Claus.
  • Is your favorite discernment blogger or podcaster pointing you to Christ and His Word, or to him/herself?
  • Can we know if the New Testament text was reliably transmitted?
  • Merry Xmas! Breathe—using the X isn’t blasphemous.
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
  • Our sanctification doesn’t add to our justification.
  • There’s only one man who can truly sing White Christmas.
  • I can think of a few more things that expository preaching is not, but this list is a good start.
  • Does anyone else remember the Claymation Christmas special?
  • Don’t be a Scrooge this Christmas.
With biblical warrant, we usually think of the cross as the greatest manifestation of God’s love. But if on the cross, Christ’s descent reached the pit of hell, the incarnation was His first step in that agonizing descent. We need to know Christ as He truly is, God and man in one beautiful, glorious person. Knowing Christ ensures being changed by Him. —William Boekestein

The battle for Christmas: Is it Christian, Pagan or Secular?

In a society where Christmas has become secularised and commercialised Christians are struggling to maintain the Christian aspect of the festival.

But this isn’t the only threat to a Christian view of Christmas. In recent years there’s been a resurgence in people claiming Christmas is entirely pagan in origin. This has coincided with the actions of the current generation of pagans and druids who are re-establishing their cycle of festivals in the calendar.

So where does the truth lie?

The celebration of Christmas was actually banned in 1647 during the Puritan Commonwealth period in England. It was seen as pagan, popish, wasteful, and immoral. Even in America, the melting pot of many of the current secular aspects of Christmas, the feast was frowned upon in the early years of the colony.

Each cultural group across the ages has had its own series of festivals and feasts bringing people together. These have been based on beliefs, specific calendars, understanding of the seasons and the astronomical cycle, combined with special events and anniversaries. Initially, these were localised to their tribes, regions or ethnic groups and over time spread to wider faith groups, nations and empires.

Some of the symbols of these separate festivities will inevitably coincide with each other – the use of fire in the winter months for light and heat, or evergreen plants following the autumnal leaf fall for colour and reminder of life returning in the spring.

The people of Israel were given feasts at different times of the year to bring them together to remember the consistency of God and what he had done for them, and many of these coincide with or developed into Christian feasts…

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The battle for Christmas: Is it Christian, Pagan or Secular? | Premier Christianity

December 15, 2017: Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Exhortation to Constant Prayerfulness

pray without ceasing; (5:17)

Joyful believers will also be prayerful believers. Those who live their Christian lives in joyful dependency on God will continually recognize their own insufficiency and therefore constantly be in an attitude of prayer. Paul’s exhortation to the Thessalonians to pray without ceasing is thus a divine mandate to all believers. Pray is from proseuchomai, the most common New Testament word for prayer (e.g., Matt. 6:5–6; Mark 11:24; Luke 5:16; 11:1–2; Acts 10:9; Rom. 8:26; 1 Cor. 14:13–15; Eph. 6:18; Col. 1:9; 2 Thess. 3:1; James 5:13–14, 16). It encompasses all the aspects of prayer: submission, confession, petition, intercession, praise, and thanksgiving. Without ceasing means “constant” and defines prayer not as some perpetual activity of kneeling and interceding but as a way of life marked by a continual attitude of prayer.

One cannot begin to understand Paul’s command to continual prayerfulness without considering how faithfully Jesus prayed during His earthly ministry. As the Son of God, He was in constant communion with the Father, and the Gospels provide many examples of the Lord’s consistent prayer life (Matt. 14:23; Mark 1:35; 6:46; Luke 9:18, 28–29; cf. John 6:15; 17:1–26). During times when He went to the Mount of Olives to pray all night (Luke 21:37–38; John 8:1–2) He undoubtedly prayed with a kind of intensity that believers know little or nothing about. The classic example of such intensity is when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion. “And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray.… And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground” (Luke 22:41, 44). Matthew 26:38–46 records that Jesus’ prayer in the garden was a prolonged experience in which He pleaded three times for the Father to spare Him from “this cup” (v. 39)—the divine wrath against sin, which He would have to bear the next day in His substitutionary death on the cross for sinners. (For a complete exposition of this passage, see Matthew 24–28, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary [Chicago: Moody, 1989], 167–78.) That level of intense agonizing is beyond anything Christians have to face, but it illustrates the persistence Jesus spoke of in the parables of the friend in need (Luke 11:5–10) and the relentless widow (Luke 18:1–8). It also uniquely exemplifies what the apostle Paul meant when he instructed the Thessalonians to pray without ceasing.

From its inception, the early church demonstrated a Christlike earnestness and constancy in its prayer life. Luke wrote how devoted Christ’s followers were to prayer, even before the Day of Pentecost: “These all [the apostles] with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers” (Acts 1:14). Later they gave themselves regularly to prayer (Acts 2:42). In their role as leaders of the young church, the apostles determined to devote themselves “to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). Also, diligent prayer by believers played a part in Peter’s release from prison (Acts 12:11–16; cf. 4:23–31).

The New Testament emphasis on the importance of prayer cannot be overstated. Already in 1 Thessalonians, Paul had written, “As we night and day keep praying most earnestly that we may see your face” (3:10). Many of Paul’s other epistles also indicate the importance of prayer (Rom. 12:12; 1 Cor. 7:5; Eph. 6:18–19; Phil. 4:6; Col. 4:2; 2 Thess. 3:1; 1 Tim. 2:8).

The strong scriptural emphasis on prayer suggests a substantial list of motivations for Christians to pray without ceasing. First of all—and the highest of all motives for believers—is their desire to glorify the Lord. Jesus taught the disciples in His model prayer, “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven’ ” (Matt. 6:9–10; cf. Dan. 9:4–19). Second, the desire for fellowship with God motivates believers to pray: “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God?” (Ps. 42:1–2; cf. 27:1, 4; 63:1–2; 84:1–2). Jesus said believers’ prayers would be answered in order that “the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13; cf. v. 14).

Third, believers will pray for God to meet their needs: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11; cf. Luke 11:9–13; 1 John 5:14–15). Fourth, Christians will pray persistently for God’s wisdom as they live in the midst of a sinful world: “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5; cf. Matt. 6:13; 1 Cor. 10:13). Fifth, the desire for deliverance from trouble motivates prayer. Jonah is a vivid example of such motivation: “Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the fish, and he said, ‘I called out of my distress to the Lord, and He answered me. I cried for help from the depth of Sheol; You heard my voice’ ” (Jonah 2:1–2; cf. Ps. 20:1).

Sixth, all Christians desire relief from fear and worry. Paul encouraged the Philippians: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6–7; cf. Ps. 4:1). A seventh motive is gratitude for past blessings, as the psalmist prayed:

O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us the work that You did in their days, in the days of old. You with Your own hand drove out the nations; then You planted them; You afflicted the peoples, then You spread them abroad. For by their own sword they did not possess the land, and their own arm did not save them, but Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence, for You favored them. You are my King, O God. (Ps. 44:1–4a; cf. Phil. 1:3–5)

Eighth, believers pray to be freed from the guilt of sin. David expressed this when he wrote, “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’; and You forgave the guilt of my sin” (Ps. 32:5; cf. Prov. 28:13; 1 John 1:9). Ninth, believers’ concern for salvation of the lost causes them to pray. Paul captured this motivation in his words to Timothy:

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim. 2:1–4; cf. Matt. 9:37–38; Rom. 10:1)

Finally, and certainly as important as any of the motivations for Christians to pray without ceasing, is their desire for spiritual growth—for themselves and for fellow believers. Paul’s petition to the Lord for the Ephesians is a model in this regard:

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. (Eph. 3:14–21; cf. 1:15–19; Col. 1:9–12)[1]


17 Intimately related to constant joy is incessant prayer—the only way to cultivate a joyful attitude in times of trial. Uninterrupted communication with God keeps temporal and spiritual values in balance. Adialeiptōs (GK 90, “continually”; cf. Ro 1:9; 1 Th 1:2–3; 2:13) does not mean some sort of formal, nonstop praying. Rather, it implies constantly recurring prayer growing out of a settled attitude of dependence on God. Whether words are uttered or not, lifting the heart to God while occupied with miscellaneous duties is the vital thing. Verbalized prayer will be spontaneous and will punctuate one’s daily schedule, as it does Paul’s writings (3:11–13; 2 Th 2:16–17).[2]


Pray continually! (5:17)

The disciples of Jesus, he said, ‘should always pray and not give up’, and he added his parable of the wicked judge and the persistent widow in order to enforce his dictum. His teaching did not relate, however, to private individual prayer only (entering our room, closing the door and speaking to the Father in secret),33 for he went on in the Sermon on the Mount to give us the ‘Our Father’, which can only be prayed with others. So, if praise is one indispensable element of public worship, prayer is another, especially in the form of intercession. Each congregation should accept the responsibility to engage in serious intercession, not only during the Sunday services but at a midweek prayer meeting as well. We should be praying for our own church members, far and near; for the church throughout the world, its leaders, its adherence to the truth of God’s revelation, its holiness, unity and mission; for our nation, parliament and government, and for a just, free, compassionate and participatory society; for world mission, especially for places and peoples resistant to the gospel; for peace, justice and environmental stewardship; and for the poor, the oppressed, the hungry, the homeless and the sick. I sometimes wonder if the comparatively slow progress towards world peace, world equity and world evangelization is not due, more than anything else, to the prayerlessness of the people of God.[3]


5:17. The next staccato note follows: pray continually. This means never stop praying. Paul was a busy missionary, and he wrote about the Christian’s duty to fulfill daily responsibilities, so this is not a command about speaking non-stop prayers. It refers, however, to the attitude of prayer, or reverence before God. The Christian’s life of righteousness and his approach to relationships and responsibilities should be such that he maintains a constant attitude of being in God’s presence. Such a person will pray often and about many things, including requests, praise, and thanksgiving. This command also means that we should never quit praying.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2002). 1 & 2 Thessalonians (pp. 185–188). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Thomas, R. L. (2006). 1 Thessalonians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 431–432). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Stott, J. R. W. (1994). The message of Thessalonians: the gospel & the end of time (p. 125). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[4] Larson, K. (2000). I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon (Vol. 9, p. 74). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

DECEMBER 15 OCCUPIED WITH PRAISE

They rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty.

Revelation 4:8

It is surely an erroneous supposition for humans to think or to believe that death will transform our attitude and dispositions.

This is what I mean: If in this life we are not really comfortable talking and singing about heaven and its joy, I doubt that death will transform us into enthusiasts! If the worship and adoration of God are tedious now, they will be tedious also after the hour of death.

I do not know that God is going to force any of us into His heaven. I doubt that He will say to any of us, “You were never very interested in worshiping Me while you were on earth, but in heaven I am going to make that your greatest interest and your ceaseless occupation.”

Controversial?

Perhaps, but in the heavenly scene John describes, the living creatures crying “Holy, holy, holy!” rest neither day nor night. My fear is that too many of God’s professing people down here are resting far too often between their efforts to praise and glorify the living God!

Lord, may my entire life—including this very day—be a sacrifice of worship to You so that I am well practiced in worshiping You when I arrive in heaven.[1]


[1] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

December 15 The Mustard Seed, Part 1

The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.—Matt. 13:31–32

Even though the Lord Jesus in this parable speaks accurately about the size of the mustard seed and the size and use of its tree-like adult form, His purpose in the illustration is proverbial, not scientific. In context of His teachings about the kingdom of God, the parable’s meaning is self-evident—the kingdom, though now seemingly small and insignificant, will one day grow into a large body of believers.

Even with Jesus ministering on earth, God’s kingdom was almost imperceptible, both because its citizens were few and it was spiritual (invisible). Elsewhere the Lord explained it well: “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst” (Luke 17:20–21). When Christ ascended to heaven, the kingdom on earth was, figuratively and relatively speaking, very small (cf. Acts 1:15).

But the kingdom that began smaller than a mustard seed will grow larger and larger. The Old Testament writers knew that eventually the Lord would “rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth” (Ps. 72:8). They rightly foresaw that all sorts of people, from all stations in life, would honor Messiah, bow down to Him, and serve Him (vv. 9–11). With the apostle, we will one day see the grand culmination: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15).

ASK YOURSELF

Are you currently involved in something for Christ that seems small in comparison with others’ ministries or talent bases? Be sure that your Lord is the master at taking the seemingly insignificant and transforming it for mighty kingdom purposes.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 358). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

December 15 God with Us

For there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.

Luke 1:45

Isaiah 7:14 says, “The Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” That virgin’s name was Mary.

The name Immanuel, however, is the key to this verse—and the heart of the Christmas story. It is a Hebrew name that means literally, “God with us.” It is a promise of incarnate deity, a prophecy that God Himself would appear as a human infant, Immanuel, “God with us.” This baby who was to be born would be God Himself in human form.

If we could condense all the truths of Christmas into only three words, these would be the words: “God with us.” We tend to focus our attention at Christmas on the infancy of Christ. The greater truth of the holiday is His deity. More astonishing than a baby in the manger is the truth that this promised baby is the omnipotent Creator of the heavens and the earth![1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 376). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

December 15, 2017: Morning Verse Of The Day

And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” (9:2–5)

The blind man’s condition created a theological dilemma in the minds of the disciples. The question they posed, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” assumed the popular Jewish doctrine that anyone’s physical suffering is the direct result of personal sin. Therefore they saw only two possible explanations for his condition: either the sins of this man or those of his parents had caused his blindness.

But the man, having been born blind, could not have been responsible for his condition unless he had somehow sinned before he was born. Perhaps the disciples considered that a possibility, since the view that children could sin while still in the womb was widespread in contemporary Judaism. In addition, some Hellenistic Jews, influenced by Greek philosophy, argued for the soul’s preexistence. Therefore, they believed people could be punished in this life for sins they committed in a previous existence. (The Bible, of course, rejects such views.) On the other hand, if the man’s parents were responsible, it hardly seems fair that their child should be punished for their sin.

The disciples’ reasoning, although not completely illogical, was based on a false premise. Certainly, it is true that suffering in general is ultimately a result of sin in general. And it is also true that a specific illness can sometimes be the direct consequence of a specific sin. Miriam, for example, was stricken with leprosy for rebelling against Moses’ authority (Num. 12:10). Jesus had earlier warned the man He healed at the pool of Bethesda, “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you” (John 5:14). The apostle Paul likewise told the Corinthians, who were partaking of the Lord’s supper in an unworthy manner, “Many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep” (1 Cor. 11:30).

Tragically, there are also times when children are forced to suffer the natural consequences of their parents’ sinful choices. For example, the eyes of babies born to women who have gonorrhea can become infected when they pass through the birth canal. If the babies’ eyes are not treated medically after birth, blindness can result. A baby’s health can also be negatively affected by the mothers’ smoking, excessive drinking, or substance abuse during pregnancy.

The disciples may also have been thinking of certain Old Testament passages in which God seems to promise punishment on children for the sins of their parents. In Exodus 20:5 God said to Israel, “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me.” Exodus 34:7 repeats the warning that God “will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations” (cf. Num. 14:18; Deut. 5:9).

Such passages, however, must be understood in a national or societal sense. The point is that the corrupting effect of a wicked generation seeps into subsequent generations. This is axiomatic, an obvious reality. The idea that a child will be punished for the sins of his own parents is a concept foreign to Scripture. Deuteronomy 24:16 commands, “Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin” (cf. 2 Chron. 25:4). Through Jeremiah God declared, “In those days they will not say again, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’ But everyone will die for his own iniquity; each man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth will be set on edge” (Jer. 31:29–30). Ezekiel 18:20 adds, “The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.”

Subsequent generations (“to the third and fourth” [Ex. 34:7]) of children, however, have suffered the consequences of a previous generation’s disobedience. The Hebrew children of the Exodus, for example, suffered through forty years of wilderness wandering because of the sins of their parents’ generation. Centuries later, when the northern and southern kingdoms were carried off into captivity, generations of children suffered for the sins of their elders.

Jesus’ reply, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him,” exposed the error in the disciples’ thinking. There is not always a direct link between suffering and personal sin. When Job’s would-be counselors rested their case for his suffering on this wrong assumption, they caused him needless misery (cf. Job 13:1–13; 16:1–4) and ultimately received a rebuke from God (42:7). On another occasion, Jesus taught that neither those Galileans whom Pilate slaughtered in the temple nor those killed when the tower in Siloam fell on them (Luke 13:1–5) suffered those deadly effects because they were particularly vile sinners—as His audience had smugly assumed. Instead, the Lord used those two incidents to warn His hearers that all sinners, including them, face death, and when it comes would perish unless they repented and trusted in Him.

The truth was that like Job (Job 1, 2), the blind man was afflicted so that the works of God might be displayed in him. But as F. F. Bruce notes,

This does not mean that God deliberately caused the child to be born blind in order that, after many years, his glory should be displayed in the removal of the blindness; to think so would again be an aspersion on the character of God. It does mean that God overruled the disaster of the child’s blindness so that, when the child grew to manhood, he might, by recovering his sight, see the glory of God in the face of Christ, and others, seeing this work of God, might turn to the true Light of the World. (The Gospel of John [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994], 209)

God sovereignly chose to use this man’s affliction for His own glory.

Having addressed their misunderstanding and introduced the matter of doing God’s work, Jesus affirmed it as the priority, saying to the disciples, “We must work the works of Him who sent Me.” Their focus was backward, on analyzing how the blind man came to be in his condition; the Lord’s concern was forward, on putting God’s power on display for the man’s benefit. As noted in the discussion of 4:4 in chapter 11 of this volume, John frequently used the verb dei (must) to describe Jesus’ active fulfillment of the mission given Him by the Father (cf. 3:14; 10:16; 12:34; 20:9). Here the plural pronoun we includes the disciples, who also were empowered to do the works of the Father who sent Jesus.

The phrase as long as it is day conveys a sense of urgency (cf. 7:33; 11:9–10; 12:35; 13:33). It refers to the brief time (only a few months remained until the crucifixion) that Jesus would still be physically present with the disciples. After that, He said, “Night is coming when no one can work”—a reference to His being taken away from the disciples in death. They would then be overtaken by the darkness (cf. 12:35) and unable to work (cf. 20:19; Matt. 26:56) until the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost once again empowered them to minister.

But while Jesus was still in the world, He was the Light of the world. The Lord, of course, did not cease to be the Light of the world after His death, since He carried on His ministry through the disciples (Matt. 28:18–20). Yet that Light shone most clearly and brightly during His earthly ministry. What Jesus told the disciples applies to all believers. They are to serve God with a sense of urgency, “making the most of [their] time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16; cf. Col. 4:5). The noble Puritan pastor Richard Baxter captured that sense of urgency when he wrote, “I preached as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men” (cited in I. D. E. Thomas, A Puritan Golden Treasury [Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1977], 223). [1]


Jesus, the Worker

John 9:4

“As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.”

The subject of the following study is work, particularly Christian work. And the example for that work is none other than that great worker, the Lord Jesus Christ. In the words we are studying he speaks about his work and gives direction to our own. The text is the fourth verse of John 9: “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.”

To understand the force of this text we must take it in the context of the chapter, for it follows upon a speculative question that had been asked of Jesus by the disciples. The group had come upon a man who had been blind from birth, and the disciples had asked, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” In other words, the disciples (who had not yet learned to look on men as Christ looked on them, as people to be loved) saw the man as a philosophical problem, and they were at once ready to debate it. Suffering is related to sin, they reasoned. The man is suffering; therefore sin is involved. So, whose sin is it? This was the line of their thinking.

To Jesus, however, the man was above all a man and, more than that, one on whom he had compassion. So instead of entering deeply into their question—he could have written a book about it—he answered them briefly, while at the same time setting about to heal the man born blind. It is in this connection that he spoke of his work, stressing that he must be about it. He added that the night was coming when no man could work.

We are to learn from this, as Spurgeon said, that “the Savior has a greater respect for work than he has for speculation.” Questions are good. There are answers to such questions. Jesus gives them. But there is an eternity to ask and answer questions. What counts now is to work, for the working time is limited and the workers are few. God had sent Jesus to work. He was determined to do that work. If you are a Christian, God has also given you work to do. The conclusion is that you should set about doing that work with the same determination.

A Need to Work

The verse itself is most instructive, however, and the first thought it brings before our minds is the necessity of working. This is indicated by the first phrase, in which Jesus said, “We must do the work.”

The necessity of working is something that is found throughout Christ’s ministry, and it is related to the will of God for him. Indeed, it is almost a leit motiv of Christ’s teaching. The earliest recorded utterance of Jesus makes this point. His parents had taken him to Jerusalem for the Passover when he was twelve years old, and when they left to return to Nazareth Jesus stayed behind in the temple. Joseph and Mary thought he was with the others in their company. When they discovered he was missing, they went back to Jerusalem and, after much searching, found him. He was discussing doctrine with the leaders of the people. “Son, why have you treated us like this?” asked his mother.

Jesus replied, “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49).

Years later Jesus began his public ministry and, early in that ministry, came to Capernaum. In Capernaum he cast out demons and healed Peter’s mother-in-law who was sick with a fever. As a result of these miracles, many in Capernaum and the area around it urged him to remain with them. But Jesus answered, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent” (Luke 4:43). In other words, he felt the divine necessity to work in his preaching.

On another occasion a short man named Zacchaeus climbed a tree in order to see Jesus as the crowd in which Jesus was walking passed by. Jesus knew the need of this man’s heart and soul. So he stopped at the tree, looked up, and said to the man; “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today” (Luke 19:5).

Jesus referred to the lifting up of the brass serpent in the wilderness in speaking to Nicodemus, saying, “Even so must the Son of man be lifted up” (John 3:14). He said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day raised to life” (Luke 9:22). Later he told his disciples, “Other sheep I have, that are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (John 10:16). From the beginning of his ministry to the end, Jesus felt a necessity of obedience to the will of God to be resting upon him.

There is another reason why Jesus felt compelled to work. The first was obedience to the will of God. The second, which is no less important, is the need of men. In John 8 we read about Jesus being driven out of the temple area. We would feel it to be all right if we found Jesus thinking primarily about his own needs and problems. But he is not. For as soon as he is outside the temple area, by the very gate of the temple, he spots a blind beggar and is immediately taken up with his need and problems. The heart of the Lord Jesus Christ went out to him. Moreover, it was always this way with Jesus. Wherever he looked there were sheep to be gathered and souls to be won. So he worked; the need of men compelled him to it.

It is no different today. Today the need is also great. Men and women are perishing in our time without the gospel and without Christ. They fill our cities and our countryside. There are the poor, the lonely, the outcasts of our society. The need is there. Who will reach them? Will you? Do you feel that you must work? Jesus felt it and, as a result, was a blessing to all who knew him. What have we done to be a blessing to those who are in need?

A third source of the necessity that Jesus felt to work was undoubtedly the love for others that filled him. Jesus loved others; hence, he had to go out of his way to work for them.

Do we love others? Or do we see them only as problems, as the disciples saw the man who had been born blind? Do we love others enough to help them? Or do we merely give lectures? There is an illustration of what ought to be done in Christ’s story of the loving father and the prodigal son. The son had taken his share of the father’s inheritance and had gone off to another country where he had wasted it on low living. When it was gone he returned home and found his father waiting. He said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” The father said—well, what did the father say? Or, to make it more personal, what might we have said had we been the father? Is it not true that we would have been ready first of all to give lectures and to ask questions? “Where have you been?” we might have asked. “What have you been doing? What happened to your good clothes? And where is your money? Don’t you know that you have wasted it all, and that it was half of my estate? Waste is not good. You have not played the role of a good steward, even less that of a faithful and loving son. What are we to do with you? What could you possibly expect to receive from me now?” These are the questions and comments we might have made, but this was not the course taken by the father. Instead, he threw his arms about the neck of his son and kissed him—he knew it all anyway, you see—and said, “Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (Luke 15:22–24).

The story is given to show the love of God the Father and of the Lord Jesus Christ for sinners, and it should be our pattern. Is the man or woman who is steeped in sin repulsive to you? His sin is no less repulsive to the Lord Jesus. Jesus loves him anyway, even to the point of having died in his place. This love should move us. The love of the Lord Jesus Christ should constrain us. It should constrain us to work for the other person’s salvation.

Specialized Work

There is a second lesson that comes from Christ’s words about work. It is the specialized nature of the work, which Jesus indicates by the next phrase in the sentence. “I must do the work of him who sent me.” It was the work of God (and only that) that Jesus felt compelled to do, while it was yet day.

There are many people who can take the first part of this verse and say with great honesty and enthusiasm, “I must work.” But there are few who can say, “I must do the work of him who sent me.” Take as an example a man who is determined to get ahead in business. He rises early in order to get to the office before most of the other employees. He puts in a long day, skipping coffee breaks, even having his lunch sent in to him. After the others leave, he stays; it is late when he finally starts home. At night he is thinking about his business and planning for the next day. What time and what skill he puts into getting ahead in his work! How strong is his desire! It is a proper desire, of course. If a man wants to get on in the world, he must work. Hard work is good for a person. We would never want to encourage any active man to be idle. And yet—this is the point—Jesus came into the world not to get ahead in business or to get rich, but rather to do the work of him who sent him. It was upon this that he set his desire and bent every activity.

Do we apply the same discipline and enthusiasm that we have in other areas of our lives to the work of God?

Moreover, notice that Jesus was not selective in the works he felt compelled to accomplish. He did not pick and choose. Rather, he said, “We must do the work of him who sent me.” That is, “We must do all of them.” There were works of preaching and of praying, of rebuking and of suffering, finally, even of dying. But whatever they were and whether they were either personally appealing or unappealing—we remember that in the Garden of Gethsemane he sweat as it were great drops of blood as his soul shrank in horror from the spiritual suffering of the cross—Jesus determined to do all of them. Have we? Or have we pulled back from that which is distasteful? There is no doubt that much Christian work remains undone simply because of this: that all Christians have not yet learned that each believer is personally to do the works—all the works—of him who sent him.

Shortness of Time

Third, Christ’s words about work also teach us about a limitation of the time allotted to work and, therefore, also about time’s shortness. Jesus indicated this by saying, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me.”

These words are striking in the mouth of the Lord Jesus Christ, much more so than if they had been spoken by any mere man or woman. Christ is the timeless God. He lived in eternity past and will be living throughout eternity future. If anyone could have postponed work, surely it was the Lord Jesus. Yet we see him concerned for the moment and aware that the moment was passing. If that is true for Jesus, how much more true is it for us who are entirely creatures of time and for whom time is quickly passing!

Time is passing for ourselves, first of all. We are here today, studying our Bibles, listening to a radio broadcast. But there is not an ounce of assurance that we will be here tomorrow. Death may come. At the very least sickness may be upon us, and the opportunities for service that we have today may be over. Or, again, even if we remain in good health, the time of opportunity may pass for the one to whom we should be bringing the gospel or whom we should be serving.

Are you a preacher? If so, you will not preach to that same congregation for long. Some will die this year, more the next. What are you waiting for? What hinders you from preaching the full counsels of God with all the depth, maturity, and enthusiasm of which you are capable? Richard Baxter once said, “I preach as though I ne’er might preach again, and as a dying man to dying men.” That should be your standard.

Are you a Sunday school teacher? If you are, the principle applies to you also. You will not have your children long. You have them for a little less than sixty minutes a week and for less than a year. What will you teach them in that time? What will they learn? For some it may be the only time in their lives in which they will have opportunity to hear about God’s love for them in Christ and of his great plans for them. For some it may be the only time in which they will have an opportunity to memorize Scripture.

Are you a mother or a father? Then these truths are for you also. Now is the time to train your children. You must begin while they are young. You will not have them for more than twenty years, and they will be malleable to your teaching for even less than that. You must lead them to faith in the Savior. You must teach them the ways of God with men and help them to develop Christian character. God will not hold you guiltless if you fail to do this; for you are responsible for them, and the time is passing. In this as in other areas “night is coming, when no one can work.”

The Night, the Night

Finally, and as a result of this last phase, we must consider the end of things historically. True, there is an end of life for each of us, for those to whom we witness and for ourselves. But it is also true that the night comes in history, so that opportunities for work that a particular age offers can be ended. Today there are great opportunities. How long will they last? Who knows but that a new dark age may soon be upon us?

In an address given on the occasion of his installation as Visiting Professor of Theology at Eastern Baptist Seminary in Philadelphia, Dr. Carl F. H. Henry spoke of the frightening rise of a new barbarianism in our age. “The barbarians are coming,” said Henry, as he likened today’s onrush of paganism to the barbarian conquest of Christian Rome. They are coming in science, through the misuse of new discoveries. They are coming in communications, as men discover ways to manipulate public opinion for bad ends. They are coming in the religious realm, as institutional Christianity increasingly gives way to the occult, the cults, and Satanism. “Obscure the vitalities of revealed religion,” said Henry, “detour churchgoers from piety and saintliness, and in the so-called enlightened nations not only will the multitudes soon relapse to a retrograde morality, but churchgoers will live in Corinthian immorality, churchmen will encourage situational ethics, and the line between the Christian and the worldling will scarce be found.”

The night is coming. Jesus said it is coming, and we can sense that it is so. But this is not all we can say. The night is coming? Yes! But Jesus is also coming. And so, the barbarians do not have the future to themselves. The Lord is returning to judge the barbarism and receive his own. One day we must stand before him. That is our hope. We rejoice! At the same time we recognize that it is also a day of reckoning. Have we worked for Jesus? Have we invested those talents that he has given us? God grant that we may and that one day we may hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”[2]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). John 1–11 (pp. 391–394). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (2005). The Gospel of John: an expositional commentary (pp. 693–698). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.